Tag Archives: QRP

N6QW introduces the Sudden QRP SSB Transceiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Pete Eaton (WB9FLW), who writes:

From the fertile mind of QRP Hall Of Fame Pete N6QW comes a new Radio Project, the Sudden QRP SSB Transceiver. If you have never Scratch Built such a Rig and would like to N6QW’s latest offering deserves close inspection.

Using only readily available (and cheap) components (and few of them) one can build a Full Blown SSB Transceiver for either 40 or 20 meters. The Radio’s Design will be featured in 2 installments of GQRP’s Sprat Magazine. The 1st being in the Fall issue (Receiver/LO) and the second part with come in the Spring 2019 issue (Transmitter).

http://n6qw.blogspot.com/2018/09/2018-year-of-ssb-transceivers_14.html

Pete is also providing extensive documentation on his Website:

http://www.n6qw.com/Sudden.html

One use for the Rig is on the Digital Modes, to that end he has design a simple Digital Adapter (which is also described on n6qw.com). One possibility is for a dedicated FT8 Transceiver!

Even if you do not intend to build the Rig take a moment to check out his Web Page. There you will find a wealth of information on designing and building such Transceivers.

Pete WB9FLW

(not to be confused with Pete N6QW 🙂

Thanks for the tip, Pete! How exciting! This looks like an innovative little rig and I love the concept of only using accessible components–in the end, that will give this little rig some longevity.

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QRP Labs Announces The QSX Transceiver

The QSX Transceiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Pete Eaton (WB9FLW), who writes:

QRP Labs has just announced the QSX an All-Band All-Mode Transceiver Kit that should be available later this year. The Target price for the 10 Band Model is $150, also available will be a 40 Meter version for $75.00.

Details from QRP Labs:

QSX (QRP Labs SSB Xcvr) is a 40m SSB transceiver with 10-band (160m-10m) and enclosure options. The kit inherits all the functionality of the famous QCX single-band CW transceiver kit but adds SSB, AM, FM, PSK31 and RTTY. This will be the lowest cost all-HF radio available but also high performance and packed with features. These are the planned features of QSX:

  • Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology with standalone Digital Signal Processing (DSP), no PC required
  • Very high performance 24-bit Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) and 24-bit Digital to Analog Converter (DAC)
  • 40m (single band) or 160-10m (10-band, including 60m) versions available
  • Modes: SSB, CW, AM, FM, PSK31, RTTY, WSPR beacon
  • Power output: 10W from 13.8V supply (power output is adjustable by the firmware)
  • Single power supply needed, 12V to 14V
  • USB host interface and connector, for USB keyboard to allow PC-less operation on PSK31 and RTTY
  • USB device interface and connector, for PC CAT Control
  • QSX can appear to a PC as a high performance 24-bit USB sound card and radio – for digital modes from a PC e.g. FT8, either demodulated or as I-Q for PC SDR programs
  • Built-in CW IAMBIC keyer (or straight keying also possible) with raised-cosine key-envelope shaping
  • DSP features (selectable sharp filters, AGC, Speech Compression, Noise Reduction etc.)
  • Dual microphone inputs (mobile phone headset with VOX, or RJ45 connector for Kenwood/Yaesu mics)
  • Dual VFO (A/B/Split), frequency and message memories
  • Through-hole assembly only
  • Built-in test equipment features for alignment, debugging and general purpose use
  • Detailed assembly manual
  • Macro facility for user defined sequences of operations, or redefinition of controls
  • Front panel: 16 x 2 LCD (yellow/green backlight), 2 rotary encoders, 4 buttons, mic/earphones socket
  • Soft-power on/off switch, the radio saves its state automatically on switch off, so that it starts up in the same state next time
  • Free firmware updates for life, very simple firmware update procedure via a USB memory stic

QSX is still in development! The above list is subject to change. The following is a FAQ with information about QSX.

More Info on QRP Labs Web Page:

https://www.qrp-labs.com/qsx.html

Check out the following video from YOTA 2018:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Fantastic! Many thanks for sharing this, Pete! This looks like a brilliant little kit for any skill level of patient kit builder.

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Building the Cricket QRP Transceiver at HOPE 2018

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m currently at the Circle of HOPE (Hackers On Planet Earth) convention in New York City.

Yesterday morning, I grabbed some breakfast and a cup of coffee then headed to the Hardware Hacking Village–a space in the Hotel Pennsylvania with over 50 soldering stations–sat down and started to build the Cricket QRP transceiver.

I’ve always found that kit building and soldering calms my nerves and since my presentation was later that day, it was just what the doctor ordered.

I opened up the kit at 9:00 am and started working.

All of the components were accounted for and the instructions were clear and easy to follow.

Although I didn’t need extra help I did have the extraordinary luxury of having the kit’s designer, my buddy David Cripe (NM0S), sitting across the table from me at one point.

Dave (NM0S) giving my Cricket the nod of approval.

The Cricket was incredibly easy to build, taking only about one hour or less start to finish.

The cool thing about this transceiver is that there are no coils to wind (they’re traced into the board) and by breaking off a pre-scored length of the circuit board, you can build an on-board hand key.

I had it on the air by 10:30 at the special event station W2H.

The Empire State Building as seen from the roof of the Hotel Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, the blowtorch AM broadcaster on the Empire State Building (ahem…next door!) overloaded the Cricket in no small way. I was, however, able to confirm output power, audio and that the receiver was functioning.

Most impressed!

Incidentally, Dave tells me he has a limit number of the Cricket kits available on his eBay store for about $37 US shipped, if you’re interested.

Click here to view the Cricket on eBay.

As for HOPE? It has far exceeded my expectations.

I’m looking forward to Chris Fallen’s presentation about HAARP later today, followed by David Cripe’s EMP presentation (who I will introduce).

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Black Cat Systems’ 22 Meter Band Part 15 CW Beacon Kit

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Robert Gulley (AK3Q), who notes that Black Cat Systems has developed a simple 22 meter beacon kit. The price is $20 shipped! A few details:

The kit includes the PCB and components, including a custom programmed microcontroller that will continuously transmit the ID / callsign of your choice, up to 8 characters, at about 13 wpm.

Small size – just 2 7/8 by 1 1/2 inches. Easy to build, just a few components, all through hole, no surface mount.

When ordering you note your callsign/ID to send and it will be pre-programmed.

Black Cat Systems has all kit details including full instructions on their website.

If you like the idea of building a beacon, you must also check out the beacon Dave (AA7EE) built recently–a true work of art!

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Yaesu FT-818 details emerge (and beware of the fake “leaked” photo!)

I’ve been following news about the Yaesu FT-818: the next iteration of the venerable Yaesu FT-817ND QRP general coverage transceiver.

The FT-817 series has been on the market for nearly two decades. I remember purchasing one of the first production models when I lived in the UK in 2001.

It was a revolutionary radio at the time.

It was exceptionally suited for portable use, sporting an internal battery pack, on-board keyer, had all mode/all band capability and antenna ports on the front faceplate and rear. It was the most compact full-featured transceiver on the market. All this for about $670 US.

In 2004, Yaesu made upgrades and launched the model FT-817(N)D. In no small way, I’m sure this little radio has been a cash cow for Yaesu. It’s had an exceptionally long market run and has been the only QRP transceiver in the Yaesu product line for decades.

Recently, Yaesu released specifications and retail pricing of the FT-818.  But before we go any further…

Don’t believe the fake prototype photos

It seems like every time a new amateur radio transceiver is announced, someone quickly assembles a “leaked” prototype image and publishes it on the web. Here’s the one someone pieced together for the Yaesu FT-818:

Click to enlarge (and see obvious Photoshop chop job)

To be crystal clear: this is not a leaked photo of the Yaesu FT-818. It’s (frankly) a terrible Photoshop job–someone playing with cutting, pasting and resizing bits from other transceivers.

I fully suspect the new FT-818 will not be a dramatic departure from the FT-817 in terms of styling and design. Perhaps it’ll be nearly identical. In fact, radio retailers have been posting the following image on their FT-818 ordering page:

Image taken from GigaParts.

This may simply be a placeholder, or it may be that all of the upgrades are internal and the ‘818 form factor will be identical to the ‘817.

Enough said…

What we do know about the Yaesu FT-818

Rumors of an FT-818 have been floating around the ham radio community for years. No surprise given the extraordinarily long run of the ‘817 series!

We do have concrete details now since ham radio retailers have been given features, specifications and availability dates. It appears the upgrades are iterative–this is not a dramatically re-designed rig.

Here’s what Yaesu has released (I took this from GigaParts, but retailers are posting variations of the same announcement):

Yaesu FT-818 6W HF/VHF/UHF All-Mode Portable Transceiver

The new Yaesu FT-818 incorporates all of the basic and attractive features of the ever-popular FT-817ND while providing upgrades desired by many existing owners.

The FT-818 provides 6W of solid output power with an external DC power source. The supplied Ni-MH battery pack (SBR-32MH) has been upgraded to now provide larger battery capacity – 9.6v/ 1900mAh. The recent launch of several new satellites is a certain indicator that the large global community of satellite enthusiast are going to be very delighted to learn that the FT-818 includes a Built-in TCXO-9 oscillator that gives the FT-818 fantastic frequency stability (±0.5ppm).

The FT-818 includes all the useful functions that are included in the FT-817ND: Dual VFOs; Split-Frequency operation; IF Shift; Clarifier “R.I.T”; IF Noise Blanker; RF Gain and Squelch control; IPO (Intercept Point Optimization); AM Aircraft reception; AM and FM Broadcast reception; VOX; Built-in Electronic Keyer; Adjustable CW Pitch; Automatic Repeater Shift (ARS); Built-in CTCSS Encoder/ Decoders; 208 memory channels with 10 memory groups; two antenna connectors; Automatic Power-Off (APO) and Time-Out-Timer(TOT) functions; and so on.

Features

  • Increased power output 6W(SSB, CW, FM) 2.0W(AM Carrier) *NEW!
  • Improved frequency stability ±0.5 ppm : Built-in TCXO-9 *NEW!
  • Larger battery capacity : 9.6V/1,900mAh (SBR-32) *NEW!
  • 208 Memory Channels / 10 Memory Groups
  • Operates on 160-10m , HF, 6m, 2m and 70 cm Bands
  • Ultra Compact and Portable
  • Two Antenna Connectors
  • IF Shift, IF Noise Blanker, IPO, ATT
  • CW “Semi-Break-in”, CW Reverse, CW Pitch Control
  • Built-in Electronic Keyer
  • Multi-Color Easy to see LCD
  • Internal Battery Operation Capability
  • ARS Automatic Repeater Shift
  • APO Automatic Power Off
  • Front Panel Key Lock Mode

Specifications

Frequency Ranges:

RX:

  • 100 kHz – 33 MHz
  • 33 MHz – 56 MHz
  • 76 MHz – 108 MHz
  • 108 MHz – 154 MHz
  • 420 MHz – 470 MHz

TX:

  • 1.8 MHz – 29.7 MHz (5.3320 MHz/ 5.3480 MHz/ 5.3585 MHz/ 5.3730 MHz/ 5.4050MHz)
  • 50 MHz – 54 MHz
  • 144 MHz – 148 MHz
  • 430 MHz – 450 MHz (Amateur Bands only)

Circuit Type: Double-Conversion Superheterodyne (SSB/CW/AM/FM)
Single-Conversion Superheterodyne (WFM)
Modulation Type: A1A(CW), A3E(AM), J3E(LSB,USB), F3E(FM), F1D(PACKET), F2D(PACKET)
RF Power Output : 6 W (SSB/CW/FM), 2 W (AM Carrier) @13.8 V
Memory Channels: 208
Case Size(W x H x D): 135 x 38 x 165 mm (5.31″ x 1.5″ x 6.50″) w/o knob and connector
Weight: 900 g (1.98 lbs) (w/o Battery, Antenna and Microphone)

Includes

  • Yaesu FT-818 6W HF/VHF/UHF All-Mode Portable Transceiver
  • Hand Microphone(MH-31A8J)
  • Battery (SBR-32 9.6V 1900mAh Ni-MH )
  • Battery Case (FBA-28) (Requires 8 “AA: batteries)
  • Whip Antenna for 50/144/430 MHz (YHA-63)
  • DC Cable (E-DC-6)
  • Shoulder Strap, Ferrite Core, Rubber Foot
  • Operating Manual
  • Battery Charger (PA-48)

The retail price is roughly $819 US shipped via GigaParts and $849 via Ham Radio Outlet. I’m sure Universal Radio will post the FT-818 to their site soon as well. At time of posting, I haven’t noticed any retailers outside the US including the FT-818 in their catalog.

I will plan to review the Yaesu FT-818, so bookmark this tag to follow any updates: Yaesu FT-818

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